The Sims 3 is a 2009 life simulation video game developed by the Redwood Shores studio of Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. Part of The Sims series, it is the sequel to The Sims 2. It was released on June 2, 2009 for OS X, Microsoft Windows and smartphone versions. Console versions were released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo DS in October 2010 and a month later for Wii. The Windows Phone version was released on October 15, 2010. A Nintendo 3DS version, released on March 27, 2011, was one of its launch titles.
The game follows the same premises as its predecessors The Sims and The Sims 2 and is based around a life simulation where the player controls the actions and fates of its characters, the Sims, as well as their houses and neighbourhoods. The Sims 3 expands on previous games in having an open world system, where neighbourhoods are completely open for the sims to move around without any loading screens. A new design tool is introduced, the Create a Style tool, which allows every object, clothing and hair to be redesigned in any color, material or design pattern.
The Sims 3 was a commercial success, selling 1.4 million copies in its first week. Critics issued mostly positive reviews, with an 86/100 score from aggregator Metacritic. The game has sold over ten million copies worldwide since its 2009 release, making it one of the best-selling PC games of all time. It has eleven expansion packs. A sequel, The Sims 4, was released in September 2014 for PC and in November 2017 for consoles.
As in previous games of the franchise, in The Sims 3 players control their own Sims’ activities and relationships. The gameplay is open-ended and does not have a defined goal. The sims live in neighbourhoods, now being officially referred to as ‘worlds’, which can be customized, allowing the player to create their houses, community lots, and sims, although many of these come with the core game. These worlds are now ‘seamless’, allowing all sims to move around freely without any loading screen in between lots, as happened in the previous games. Thus, the neighbourhood includes community lots which can be leisure lots (such as parks, gyms, and movie theatres) and job lots (town hall, hospital, businesses). Since the neighbourhood is open, the game includes the “Story Progression” mechanic, which allows all Sims in the neighborhood to autonomously continue their lives without the player ever controlling them. This helps to advance the story of the whole neighbourhood instead of only the active playing units. Sims live for a set duration of time that is adjustable by the player and advances through several life stages (baby, toddler, child, teen, young adult, adult, and elder). Sims can die of old age or they can die prematurely from causes such as fire, starvation, drowning, and electrocution.
The primary world in the game is Sunset Valley (in the console version, the main world is Moonlight Bay), while an additional world called Riverview can be obtained for free. All expansion packs to date (except Generations and Seasons) have included a world, and additional worlds can be bought at The Sims 3 Store for SimPoints. Additionally, Sunset Valley and a few of the other worlds available have some degree of connection to the storyline set up by The Sims and The Sims 2. In-game Sunset Valley is stated to be the same town as the playable world in the original Sims, and Pleasantview from 2, although set twenty five and fifty years earlier, respectively. Several pre-made characters from other Sims games appear throughout the Sims 3’s worlds, many of them in younger form.
Career opportunities like working overtime or completing tasks can yield a pay raise, cash bonus, or relationship boost. Challenges occur randomly based on each Sim’s lifestyle, like relationships, skills, and jobs. Skill opportunities are the requests by your sim’s neighbors or community members for Sims to solve problems using their acquired skills for cash or relationship rewards.
The new Wishes reward system replaces the Wants and Fears system in its predecessor The Sims 2. Fulfilling a Sim’s wishes contributes to the Sim’s Lifetime Happiness score, allowing players to purchase Lifetime Rewards for the cost of those Lifetime Happiness points.
The game introduces a big change in terms of customization with the “Create-a-Style” tool. In this way, every object or piece of clothing in the game is completely customizable in terms of color (which can be picked from a color wheel), material (plastic, stone, fabric, wood…) or design pattern.